I lived in Washington, DC for a short stint where I met Kimberly Wilson, a yoga teacher and studio owner whose approach to the practice turned out to be completely in alignment with my own (before I even knew what my approach was). She was producing a yoga podcast at the time called Hip Tranquil Chick which eventually became a book.
During one of the recordings, she spoke about an experience walking into Target where the energy of the space and all the shoppers overwhelmed her causing her to cut her shopping trip short and leave. This may have been the first time I ever heard anyone describe themselves as affected by energy, though I can’t recall if used those words or not.
There is something about shopping at the holidays that brings about this kind of chaos energy. I felt it yesterday when I ventured to the mall to pick up the last couple of Christmas gifts on my list. We intended to be there for a couple of hours, but just 30 minutes in and I was all but begging my hubby to leave. The energy in the mall at Christmas time is buzzing and causes a heavy feeling; a tightness in my chest. It’s no wonder that so many people avoid the place. The thing is, it’s not just introverts or empaths that avoid the mall at Christmas time. It affects people with all kinds of aversions, especially those who reject excess or are not particularly inclined toward mass consumerism. (Think, every grumpy old guy you’ve ever met.) It affects me too.
I don’t consider myself empathic nor particularly introverted. Empaths and introverts (I don’t know why I’m lumping these two together, but it feels right for this subject) tend to feel the effects of all crowds whether they are at the mall, a party or a baseball game. I don’t always feel anxiety in public places, in fact, I rarely do. I feel it in hospitals and I feel it, apparently, at the mall during the holidays.
I think it has to do with a combination of the artificial lighting, the cacophony of noise, the smells they pump throughout the building, and the energy associated with excess. There is so much junk at the mall, it kind of grosses me out a little. Most of it seems wasteful…just a bunch of stuff for stuff’s sake.
When we left, my husband suggested we go to the park to get some fresh air. I didn’t ask, but I wonder if he was feeling the same thing. He avoids the mall all year long so I’m sure he was. If there was one good thing I got out of the experience, it was that I really want to focus this year on giving gifts that will be cherished; either experiences or items that will be valued not just something that fills a gap in my shopping list.
Tell me, what kind of places hold the most energy for you; either good or bad? Share in the comments.